Covid-19 vaccine: Utilise pharmacists for large-scale rollout

In response to the announcement by the Federal Government that a free Covid-19 vaccine will be available progressively throughout 2021 in Australia, if trials prove successful and the vaccine is proven to be safe and effective, meeting all necessary regulatory requirements, the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia (PSA) is calling on all state and territory governments to ensure that legislative amendments are made now, so that approved Covid-19 vaccines can be administered by pharmacists.

PSA National President Associate Professor Chris Freeman says administering a Covid-19 vaccine will be the primary way out of this pandemic and all hands on deck are needed to ensure that there is wide and comprehensive uptake of the vaccine.

“Some state and territory governments have already passed legislation that will allow pharmacists to administer the Covid-19 vaccine if and when it becomes available and pharmacists are more than capable and qualified to provide this service,” says Associate Professor Freeman.

“A proactive approach to legislative amendments now means that when the vaccine is available all jurisdictions around Australia will be ready to go, with the entire available health care workforce, including pharmacists, able to undertake a large-scale vaccination program.

“PSA has written to state and territory governments asking that any required legislative amendments are made now in preparation for when the vaccine becomes available.”

This year, in response to the pandemic threat, there have reportedly been almost one million doses of flu vaccines administered to Australians through the existing pharmacist network.

As part of the recently signed Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement the Federal Government has committed to supporting for harmonisation of pharmacist vaccines across all Australian jurisdictions.

Associate Professor Freeman says that the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine should be viewed no differently to the recent improved vaccination scope of community pharmacists.

“The large scale rollout of this vaccine can only be achieved by also utilising pharmacist immunisers conveniently located in the community across Australia,” Associate Professor Freeman adds.

“This will be particularly critical in rural and remote areas where there may be a limited number of GPs.”

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